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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Alcohol Dependence: Prevention & Expectations
      Category : Health Centers > Alcoholism

Alcohol Dependence

Alternate Names : Alcoholism, Alcohol Addiction, Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol Dependence | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the condition?

Teaching people, particularly those who are at risk for the disease, about alcoholism is important. This education needs to be started at a young age.

What are the long-term effects of the condition?

The long-term effects of alcohol dependency include:

  • pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas
  • heart disease, including coronary artery disease
  • neuropathy, or damage to the nerves
  • bleeding esophageal varices, or enlarged veins in the tube that connects the windpipe to the stomach
  • brain degeneration and alcoholic neuropathy
  • cirrhosis of the liver, a chronic disease that causes destruction of liver cells and loss of liver function
  • depression, insomnia, anxiety, and suicide
  • high blood pressure
  • increased incidence of many types of cancer, including breast cancer
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff's syndrome, a neuropsychiatric disorder caused by thiamine deficiency that results from poor nutrition in alcoholics
  • significant damage to occupational, social, and interpersonal areas, including sexual dysfunction
  • Children and teenagers who abuse alcohol are at increased risk for further drinking problems, depression, other substance abuse, and personality disorders as they get older. Adolescents who drink alcohol heavily can develop significant impairments in their ability to remember new information, and their schoolwork may suffer.

    People who are heavy drinkers also tend to smoke and eat an unhealthy diet. This combination puts the person at higher risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

    What are the risks to others?

    If a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy, her fetus is at great risk for developing fetal alcohol syndrome. or FAS. Drinking reduces judgment, impulse control, and motor control. A person with alcohol dependency places himself or herself and others at risk for accident or emotional injury.

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    Alcohol Dependence: Diagnosis & Tests


    Alcohol Dependence: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: Ann Reyes, Ph.D.
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/13/01

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